Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SETH WILLIAMS: LET'S YOU AND HIM FIGHT

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams reminds us of that kid on the playground who's always trying to get someone else to take on the bully he's too afraid to confront himself.

Ever since Attorney General Kathleen Kane revealed that two members of his staff engaged in a sloppy sting investigation possibly tainted by racial targeting, Williams has been obsessed with branding her a liar.  There is, of course, one sure way to do so: by successfully prosecuting the case she says is unprosecutable.  But he won’t.

The lead investigator, who now works for Williams, told Office of Attorney General staff "that he was instructed by his supervising OAG Attorney to focus only on members of the General Assembly's Black Caucus, and that when he had information of potentially illegal acts by white members of the General Assembly he was specifically told not to pursue it.”

The agent, who was promised a promotion and cash bonus for working on the investigation, has been forced to recant. Williams trotted him out for a Fox 29 interview, in which he denies racial targeting, but curiously, he never denies telling OAG staff that he was instructed to focus on members of the Black Caucus.  Not that was he asked. Tsk, tsk, Fox 29.

Another reason Kane declined to prosecute the case is that “federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of Case File No. 36-622 have shared with current members of the OAG executive staff their opinion that the case is flawed and not prosecutable.”  Williams has pounced on her assertion, insisting that neither the FBI nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to pursue the case. Kane never said they did. She never asked them to.

But even if, for some reason, Kane is lying about all of this - if there was no racial targeting, if federal officials never shared an opinion about the case – that won’t explain why Williams himself won’t prosecute.

If Williams is correct that Kane should have prosecuted, and the feds could have prosecuted, he opens himself to the question, why won’t he prosecute?

If the case is solid, Williams should pursue it. If it’s not, he should shut up.

We’re at a loss why the Inquirer keeps indulging him in his insistence that Kane is lying about the case being flawed, and the feds never said it was flawed, when he himself admitted it’s flawed. He told the Inquirer it would be difficult for his office to prosecute the cases because Confidential Informant Tyron Ali apparently no longer had any legal obligation to testify against those he had taped because the charges against him had been dropped. “There's no way I can use him under any prosecutorial theory I can think of," Williams said.

It was Williams’ own Assistant District Attorney Frank Fina, the supervising OAG attorney on the case, the one who told the lead investigator to focus on members of the Black Caucus, the one who promised him a promotion and cash bonus for working on the case, who dropped the charges. And he did it 45 days before Kane even took office.

Williams contends it was Kane who dropped the charges, but he’s being disingenuous. Fina prepared and signed the agreement on Nov. 30, 2012. Kane didn’t intend to dismiss the case, but Ali's lawyer filed a motion in court demanding action on the agreement and she had no choice. The agreement could be revoked only if Ali broke the terms, and Kane was legally obligated to honor it.

But here again, if she’s wrong and he’s right, he could have pursued the charges. Fina left the OAG and joined the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in April of 2013, taking a copy of the rejected sting case file with him.  Kane didn’t take action to formally dismiss the charges against Ali until October. If Williams didn’t think the agreement Fina signed in November 2012 rendered the case unprosecutable, why didn't he prosecute it? If he did, he should shut up.

Alas, he won’t shut up. And he’s too afraid to touch the case with a ten-foot pole. Meanwhile, who’s showing more political courage than Williams? Harrisburg gadfly Gene Stilp, who’s filed a private criminal complaint against some of the lawmakers targeted in the sting.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a court jester like Stilp has more guts than the District Attorney of Philadelphia.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are details in the March 16 AG press release of remarkable specificity that have yet to be published by the media and analyzed. In particular this:- "The consensual recordings are the only evidence of alleged wrongdoing by the various state legislators and the CI is the only witness that can offer testimony regarding such recordings on behalf of the prosecution. No other supporting or corroborating evidence exists." Repeat:- "the CI is the only witness that can offer testimony regarding such recordings on behalf of the prosecution." Every person, including Williams, says that the CI, (Tyron Ali), cannot be used in court. That deficiency lies squarely and solely on the shoulders of Frank Fina. Understand this means if Ali cannot testify and he "is the only witness that can offer testimony regarding such recordings" then the recordings are inadmissible as evidence. Frank Fina cannot simply walk into a courtroom and play a tape recorder and sit down. Who will testify to the identity of the voices? Who will testify whether the recording accurately replays ALL of the conversation and has not been edited or fails to pick up other statements made? Who will testify to the date of the conversation? (SOL? That means statute of limitations, Frank) The failure to have means of authenticating the recording is grossly incompetent.
And this specific point has also been ignored by lazy reporters: "...the OAG Agent indicated that he was instructed by his supervising OAG Attorney to focus only on members of the General Assembly's Black Caucus and that when he had information of potentially illegal acts by white members of the General Assembly he was specifically told not to pursue it." Repeat: "when he had information of potentially illegal acts by white members of the General Assembly he was specifically told not to pursue it." The grammar of this sentence is a little ambiguous. Does it mean that Thomas said that if he ever happened to stumble upon information of wrongdoing by a white politician he should not pursue it? Or does it mean that Thomas FOUND information of a crime by white politicians and reported it to Fina who told Thomas not to pursue it? The first meaning is very bad. The second meaning sounds like obstruction of justice and a coverup. But none of the lazy reporters have asked Thomas the specific questions "From 2009 to 2012 did you ever have information of potential wrongdoing by a white politician? If so, to whom did you report it and has that person been prosecuted yet?" Given the universal agreement that corruption remains pervasive in the culture of Harrisburg it is almost inconceivable that the answer to the first question could be anything other than an unqualified and emphatic "YES!"

Anonymous said...

During his time in PA, Fina has abused the law in several cases and continues to leave destruction in his wake. It is about time the Feds step in and stop him. An investigation of all of Fina's cases during the 8-year Corbett Administration at OAG should be reviewed and corrected.

Anonymous said...

Fearless Frank Fina took all you crumbs down. Your hero Katie is next.

Anonymous said...

Hey Frankie, better keep a tight hold on that law license and dump more $$ into Haverstick's retainer.

Just remember: the enemy always gets a vote.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Frank Fina made sure all you can't vote. Convicted criminal scum like you Don't get to vote.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Fantastic Frank Fina made sure all you can't vote. Convicted criminal scum like you Don't get to vote.

April 10, 2014 at 4:24 PM

A vote, not TO vote.

It's military parlance; I’ll explain its meaning, Frank the Nerd.

It means that the enemy gets a say.

Your enemy just voted. Enjoy retirement, freak.

Anonymous said...

It is good to see the exposures of the patterns and practices of Frank Fina selective, bias, political, and now racist is prosecutions becoming known. The Totality of Frank Fina actions now have a pattern of misusing Investigators, Grand Juries, from Bonusgate to Sandusky to Racists gate.

Seth Williams will abandon Frank Fina in the end when it all comes out, watch, and see?